Frustration, teething and cries

posted by Jeff | Thursday, November 10, 2011, 10:42 PM | comments: 0

Simon has been really intense lately. A lot of the time, it's in a good way, with him doing interesting things, running around to and from us and generally being this fun and happy kid. At the same time, he's having issues that are making him hard to deal with, and I'm surprised at how easily he pushes my buttons, for no reason other than he's a toddler.

Frustration is an emotion he doesn't deal with well at all. For example, today in the tub, his frog net that catches the little swimming bugs got stuck in his basket. All he had to do was work out that he had to move the handle, but instead he immediately started flipping out, yanking it around and screaming. It wasn't pretty. He was doing it earlier in the day over this big empty Costco-sized Cheerios box, and I'm not even sure what he was trying to achieve.

I know this stuff isn't likely hereditary, and he hasn't seen me be like that, but the intense feelings remind me a whole lot of myself. My reactions in that realm are mostly restricted to mechanical things I can't do. I remember having momentary meltdowns like that when I worked on my first car, for example.

Then there's the teething. It was mostly over ten months ago, but the molars have finally started messing with him, and even one at a time is worse than four other teeth at a time. To make it worse, we don't always see the signs (like both hands in his mouth and extra drooling). At least this is something he'll grow out of, but it just sucks to see him in pain like that, and all we can do is medicate and gel his teeth.

Which leads to the last problem, which might partly be teething, and partly caused by us. From the time he goes to bed to midnight or later, he's waking up and crying. Usually he's sitting up when he does it. It started when we moved, and in the last two weeks it has gotten pretty ridiculous. My approach is to let him cry a little, then go in and put him on his back with minimal contact. Of course, one day last week I didn't realize he was teething, and felt like an asshole and bad father, so now I'm more hands-on.

What we should be doing is stop reinforcing that when he cries, one of us shows up, but it's so flipping hard. I worry about whether or not he finds comfort in familiarity of his new house and if he's teething, while Diana always worries about whether he's hot or cold.

Like I said, it's not the end of the world, but I find myself not using my sane and objective parenting skills. The intensity of his emotions causes me to react emotionally. I know that's just human nature, but he's just a toddler. We're definitely entering new territory with an emotionally engaged little human.


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